The Senate today (June 13) approved legislation introduced by Senator Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) aimed at promoting telemedicine in Pennsylvania as a way to overcome barriers to quality patient care created by distance and reduce the costs of those services.
Senate Bill 780 specifically defines telemedicine as “the delivery of health care services provided through telecommunications technology to a patient by a healthcare practitioner who is at a different location.” It also establishes guidelines regarding who can provide telemedicine services, and provides clarity regarding insurance company reimbursement for those services.
“Telemedicine can help patients get the care they need. It allows for improved access and improved health outcomes in cost effective ways,” Senator Vogel said. “Studies show that telemedicine saves time, money, and lives. With the rapidly rising cost of healthcare, and the fact that’s it nonexistent in some places, the need for telemedicine continues to grow.” Video
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
While Senate Bill 780 would make substantial changes in the health care industry, physicians and other health practitioners delivering telemedicine services would still be required to follow standard state licensure and medical practice laws and requirements in Pennsylvania.
“Telemedicine can vastly improve the availability of healthcare options for people in rural or urban areas, lower the cost of healthcare, and strengthen the bond between patients and their doctors,” Senator Vogel said. “Telemedicine is especially vital for patients who suffer from chronic illness, seniors who are homebound and families who live in rural areas where they would have to travel very far to receive medical care. We need to make this option available for all Pennsylvanians.”
Senator Vogel’s bill is supported by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Medical Society and AARP.
CONTACT: Cheryl Schriner Cschriner@pasen.gov